first digital artwork, please help

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  1. #1
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    first digital artwork, please help

    I was recently given an incredible Wacom tablet and PS
    but I'm afraid I'm not too familiar with how to create images "from scratch"
    I've heard painter is better for this, but I'm trying to work with what I have for now
    I'm totally new to all these techniques, it's nothing like my good ol pencil and sketchbook! Any help/critiques would be appreciated.. I know the picture isn't too great, I was just seeing what I could do..
    Hopefully I can find some good tutorials soon ><
    first digital artwork, please help

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    Last edited by bluebirdxo; September 30th, 2008 at 12:24 AM.
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  3. #2
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    The nice thing about a tablet is that it can be a lot like your good old pencil and sketchbook (not the same, but a lot like it). Maybe this will be a good way for you to get used to the tool.

    Play with the photoshop brush settings (shape, opacity, fade, etc) and the wacom pressure response until you've created a nice pencil tool that your comfortable with and start there.

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  4. #3
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    Thanks Ian
    what I really don't understand is how to achieve good, realistic shading without either
    a) constantly changing the opacity of the brush and trying not to pick up the pen so it doesn't overlap
    or
    b) making layers on full opacity and then lowering it as needed, resulting in a huge number of layers

    perhaps I just need to do a bit more research/experimenting? or is there some method I'm completely overlooking?

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  5. #4
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    Blue Bird,
    I think you should try working on the fundamentals of painting before concerning yourself too much with the specifics of the digital format. Why don't you try sticking to just black, white and grays to get your values down before throwing in the big, complicated beast that is color.

    That being said, here are a couple of tips on using PS to paint:
    -Try starting out with a basic round with the opacity jitter set to "pen pressure". You'll find this in the brush dialog box, under "other dynamics". This allows you to paint at 100% opacity setting-wise, but still have control over the opacity via the pressure of your pen. It seems a bit unwieldy at first, but this is how you'll do 90% of your painting (at least that's how I do it!)

    -Try making a hand drawn gradient to get used to rendering in PS. Pick two colors in your color picker, and paint to big strokes of them at 100% right next to each other so that they touch. Now turn the opacity jitter to pen pressure and draw a stroke with one of the colors down the middle of the two. Pick that intermediate color and do another stroke next to that and so on and so forth, rendering the transition between the two colors. This might seem like a boring exercise, but it really helped me to get a grasp on how the digital medium works.

    -Try adjusting the range of the shape dynamics to more accurately match the medium you'd like to emulate. Going for an ink brush look? 0 min size and wet edges might be what you are after. Want it to look more like paint? somewhere around 30 min brush size, a speckled brush tip, opacity dynamics and a smidge of scattering could be the answer. I saw play around but don't get too focused on brushes in the beginning, many a great painting have been done with little more than the basic round!

    Hope this stuff helps you out! Keep up the good work.

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  6. #5
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    Hmm, I have't really thought about how I do this--I just do it. I suppose a practical question is do you have your brush configured to use change the opacity according to pen pressure?

    Assuming that's not the issue and I'm working in sort of a painterly fashion I set the brush for full opacity, let the pen pressure do the work and just build up colors from dark to light (I think this is how oil painters work). Anyway, I lay down a dark overall form, sample a lighter color from somewhere nearby, build up the highlight a bit, rinse and repeat. Don't sweat the overlap and a little roughness while your dialing in your forms and composition--you can take care of that stuff once the big picture is working.

    When you are ready to smooth things out where its needed you can use the blur brush, soften your brush "tip," smear things a bit--it just depends on what you're trying to represent.

    Anyway, I'm rambling and there are better people to render painting advice than I--the bottom line is that you hit the nail on the head: experiment, read, watch, ask, try--all that good stuff!

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    Red face

    Thank you both so much!
    Brinkman, I'll definitely try all that, I'm definitely willing to put in a lot of time and practice to get better at this
    thanks again

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  8. #7
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    To me, it looks like you're headed more for a vector-ee/inked comic book style at the moment. There's nothing wrong with that; I spend most of my time over in that corner myself.

    However, if you're trying to aim for a painterly style, then start by losing the crisp edges, and setting your tablet to pen pressure (Shape Dynamics, Smoothing, Other Dynamics [if you want to set your tablet to varying opacity on pressure], and Airbrush [optional].

    I find that the easiest way to learn digital art, is by sitting down and watching other people's work processes. It's a tricky learning curve, and if you try to learn it all by yourself, you'll spend ages struggling with the program before you even start to head down the right track. Look for tutorials in all sorts of different styles, and take what you like from them.

    You're going to hear a lot of people saying to stick with the hard round brush as a start, and I agree. Custom brushes are all very well and good but get your basics down first. My own brush settings are a Hard Round Brush (varying sizes), with Opacity 51% and Flow 24%. Imagine it like this - Opacity is how many layers of paint you're throwing down (and how thick your layers are), and flow is how much paint is on the paintbrush at one time. I'll see if i can hunt down a tutorial explaining brush settings for you, I know I had a good one lying around.

    As a beginner in painting, ditch the colour. Colour theory is a whole nother ball game, and you're better off focusing on the basics of painting without adding in the whole colour mess right now. The Zone theory has some good base grays to start out with (just wiki it). Avoid straight black and straight white.

    Personally, I'm not keen on using the blur brush or smudge brush, but everyone works a bit differently.

    Let me just quickly add that there's nothing wrong with using photoshop. Painter vs. photoshop is a personal preference, and YES I fully admit that Painter is designed to make life a bit easier on simulating traditional media. However, if you go about it the right way, it is my opinion that you can gain simular results in photoshop as well. In fact, the ideal work process probably mixes the two programs.

    Hopefully this wasn't too much random information at once. I'm willing to bet that you have an absolutely lovely sketchbook in traditional media - the portrait you posted is very pretty considering you've never touched digital media, and once you make the transition we'll all be seeing amazing stuff from you!

    Lots of luck!

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  9. #8
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    One really good thing about working digitally that people don't use enough, is that you can flip your image to check for errors. I think you should do so with this picture and you'll immediately see what is going on with this picture.

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  10. #9
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    It took me a little while to get the settings just right for the brushes, and I have been experimenting with making gradients. I've learned so much from that
    Robin~ I took your advice, and I'm working on something new in grayscale, and if you know of any good tutorials that would be greatly appreciated ^_^
    Arshes Nei~ I've been taking advantage of that, it certainly is useful

    I was a little afraid to post anything on here at first because I'm just a beginner with all this, but I'm glad I did. Thanks everyone!

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  11. #10
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    I knew I had a link on photoshop brush settings somewhere:
    http://www.admemento.com/tutorials/P..._brushes00.htm

    I have a whole bank of tutorials lying around in a billion and one places. The pixelart forums and I think these ones as well actually have a thread where people list tutorials. That's probably a good starting ground.
    This is one that's usually linked quite a bit: http://www.furiae.com/index.php?view=gallery

    When i said look at other people's work flows. Here's a good lady to keep an eye on. She's done a lot for the imaginefx magazine, and usually does slight walkthroughs of her work. http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?t=425910

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  12. #11
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    I don't know if If have good advice considering I'm new to this forum myself.

    You could try just doing your base line art on Pencil and Paper, Scan it into Photoshop, and then just paint over it? I don't know if your plan is to create a drawing 100% on scratch but if your having serious trouble there's no shame in just mixing traditional and digital together.

    The main difference I see with using the Tablet with Painter is the Brush Tracking feature which gives you the ability for painter to recognize your Pen Strokes for a more natural feel. However if you make really clean line art or Ink your drawings before scanning into Photoshop you can probably bypass this feature instead.

    Edit: I also forgot to add that Painter the Rotate Canvas (E) feature much like how you would rotate your paper around to work more comfortably. But once again it shouldn't be too much of an advantage.

    Last edited by BillW9999; October 1st, 2008 at 01:13 PM.
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  13. #12
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    I've only used Photoshop (although I'd like to try Painter sometime) but most everyone has already stated the things I'd recommend:

    + Set most of your brush settings to Pen Pressure/Stylus
    + Try turning down the opacity on your brush.
    + Try a couple of greyscale passes first to get the feel of things.
    + You haven't used them here much, but other people have mentioned them so I will say: I used to use blur and smudge a lot, and burn and dodge as well. Get that out of your system early. It's better to build colour and shape gradually than to rely on those particular tools. Besides, if you use multiple colours to build to a deeper richer colour, it looks better than the burned colours. Burned colours tend to be monchromatic and the intensity can get a bit screwed up.

    + Try making your own brushes to get better stroke effects. Play with soft and wet edges.

    + Experiment and practise a lot and expect a lot of failure at the beginning. There's no secret path to looking awesome, except a lot of practise and getting acquainted with your tools.

    she sings from somewhere you can't see ...

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  14. #13
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    Robin~ I'm finding those so helpful, you have no idea ^_^ thank you for sharing them

    BillW~ I appreciate the help, any advice is useful.. unfortunately I don't have a very good scanner, though I have access to one at school so maybe I'll give that a try, but I ultimately want to be completely digital. But it sounds like a good thing to experiment with. Also, my tablet comes on a handy stand that allows it to rotate, much like I would do with paper

    PixelFish~ A lot of people have been saying to play around with brush settings and I have been making my own, it makes everything so much easier and I'm feeling a lot more comfortable with it. But what exactly do you mean by wet edges?
    And the advice about not using dodge/burn was something I recently learned from a site Robin left a link to, it's something I've never really done just out of habit, but I had never thought that I should not do it at all..
    I hope other people are seeing this thread and learning from it like I am
    Thanks everyone=]

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  15. #14
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    woohoo i'm learning! *party time*
    So after wasting a few hours away doodling with my new brushes, I turned my doodles into a new set of artwork that kinda look like shadow-people.. It's just simple stuff, all black and white, some original and some with pic refrences (sorta) nothing spectacular. And probably (..hopefully) not the full extent of what I can do on here.. But I thought I'd see what people have to say. Here are the first two, I have about 3 more but it isn't all that interesting
    I don't know why they all turned out being guys o.o I usually tend to draw women for some reason, that anatomy always came easier to me. go figure
    first digital artwork, please help


    first digital artwork, please help

    Last edited by bluebirdxo; October 1st, 2008 at 10:24 PM.
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  16. #15
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    Don't worry about the quality of the scanners, If your goal is to do a 100% digital your line art layer will eventually get covered up by your Paint layers. Think if the line art as a guide or blueprint to where things go and where to paint you can still say its 100% digital too because no one is going to see the line art you drew over in the beginning.

    Of course this is just one method of many to draw your lines in Photoshop. I suggested this because I noticed your lines are very sketchy and using this scanner method is a quick easy way to bypass the drawing lines "chore" so you can concentrate on the actual painting and detailing. As for drawing directly onto the computer I personally like painter for that job, and while it can be done in Photoshop I think painter has the advantage in this department.

    Above all no matter how you choose to do it just draw, paint, and have fun!

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